Long Realty scores twice on Tucson Association of REALTORS® honor roll


One Tucson institution dating to the 1920s honored another as Long Realty wins two awards for community service—one an individual tribute and one for corporate efforts—in the 2016 round of recognitions by the Tucson Association of REALTORS®.

Taking home the Roy P. Drachman Community Achievement Award was Rosey Koberlein, president and CEO of Long Companies. Long Realty also won a Corporate Community Achievement Award.

Named after visionary Tucson real estate executive and philanthropist Roy P. Drachman, Koberlein’s award honors an individual REALTOR® for outstanding community service that enhances the real estate profession. The corporate award recognizes a company for exemplary service and leadership across a broad range of community involvement.

“It’s a great honor to be acknowledged for what we do every day,” Koberlein said. “Since its founding in 1926, Long Realty has always been committed to being a positive influence in the community. These awards actually recognize two aspects of the same thing, because we live what we believe, as both a corporation and as individuals.”

Evidence of that commitment is plentiful. The Long Realty Cares Foundation, largely funded by the agents and employees of the Long family of companies, has supported many deserving community groups with grants totaling more than $2.5 million since its start in 2002. Long Companies also sponsors the Tucson Pops Orchestra and other local organizations, hosts charity fundraisers, and serves the community in myriad ways at the individual, branch office, and corporate level.

At a personal level, Koberlein’s résumé includes a lengthy and still-growing history of serving numerous community, national, and professional organizations, as well as public speaking on topics ranging from real estate to mortgage and title issues.

Koberlein joined Long Realty in 1991 and was named general manager of Long Companies in 1998. She moved up to president and CEO in 2004. Over the course of a 30-year real estate career Koberlein has garnered numerous awards for leadership and community service.

The largest trade organization in Southern Arizona, the Tucson Association of REALTORS® was established in 1921 as the Real Estate Board of Tucson. The association represents the interests of over 4,800 professionals in the real estate industry and works to support healthy growth and community improvement.

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Buying a home is getting easier, and there’s lots of help

Rosey Koberlein
CEO, Long Companies

It’s not 2008 anymore, and finally there’s some good news for real estate.

If you’ve tried to buy a home since that year’s economic debacle, it might seem that you—and your credit score—need to be solid gold to qualify for a mortgage. The financial collapse was partly fueled by a risky reliance on wobbly “subprime” mortgages. After the collapse, lending practices became so tight they squeaked, and the real estate industry—and millions of well-qualified buyers—endured years of hard times.

Now for the good news. Maybe you’ve been turned down for a mortgage since 2008. It’s tempting to give up after a rejection, but please don’t. Things are changing, and your opportunities are growing fast.

First, credit rules are loosening. The average FICO credit score for approved loans is trending downward, dropping from just above 750 in September, 2012 to just below 725 this May. These are averages; actual scores for approved loans ranged from 620 to 850. The drop may seem small, but it re-opens the possibility of homeownership to millions.

Along with lower required credit scores, interest rates are bouncing along at the bottom of their historical range. Low interest rates offset the rising cost of homes and help keep homeownership affordable. Often, it costs less to own than to rent.

Remember when you needed a 20 percent down payment to finance a home? That was never totally true, and now it’s just a myth. Over the past 35 years, the median down payment for first-time buyers has been just 5 percent, and many lenders are now approving loans with as little as 3 percent down. These figures come from the National Association of Realtors®, which keeps a close eye on such things.

Plus, the Arizona Department of Housing is offering two very helpful programs to help with down-payment costs. The Pathway to Purchase Down Payment Assistance Program is available in 17 municipalities around the state—in areas hit especially hard by foreclosures—and helps with down payments on existing homes. The cities of Tucson, South Tucson, Yuma, select Phoenix cities and Sierra Vista are on the list.

A second ADOH program, the HOME Plus Home Loan Program, assists creditworthy renters who can qualify for a mortgage but don’t have the required down payment. HOME Plus is available for new construction and in areas not covered by Pathway to Purchase.

Both programs have reasonable limits on income and purchase price, and they’re not giving away free money. But they are worth looking into. Information is online—just type the program’s name into your web browser.

If you’re ready to go home-shopping, here are a few pointers:

  • Know your finances. How much of a down payment can you comfortably afford? How about property taxes, homeowners insurance, maintenance and other expenses? This is a good time to draw up a budget that includes income, living expenses and debt payments as well as housing costs.
  • Visit a few lenders and apply for a preapproved mortgage. You’ll learn how much you’re qualified to borrow, which will help focus your home search. Be sure to ask if you qualify for VA, FHA or other federal loan programs.
  • Connect with the professionals. Working with a REALTOR®, as well as your lender, is the best way to keep your home search realistic, on track, and successful.

As CEO of a real estate company, I watch market trends closely, and what I’m seeing right now is very encouraging. That’s why I urge you to check your eligibility, even if you’ve been rejected before. It never hurts to ask, and the answer this time could be “Congratulations. You qualify.”

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Long Realty’s Continental Ranch/Marana office relocates

In a move to upgrade its service of the burgeoning Marana-area housing market, Long Realty is shifting its Continental Ranch/Marana office to a better-located and more functional site a mile south of its current address.

Together with the Dove Mountain branch—also in Marana—the office is part of Long Realty’s two-pronged approach to serving the growing communities of northwest Pima County. The office was launched in 2006 and between the two offices, now field a growing cadre of more than a 40 agents. Long Realty has the agents with the most knowledge of the area and continues to lead in Continental Ranch with a 24.8% market share.

Located at 8651 N. Silverbell Rd., at the south side of the intersection with N. Coachline Blvd., the new site almost doubles the working area for agents and their clients and gains a second conference room.

“This new location will let us serve our clients even better,” said David Winter, branch manager of both Marana offices. “It’s more convenient, and it has better visibility in a higher traffic area than our old location, so it’s easier to find.”

The new location has other advantages as well, Winter said. “It’s easier to get into and out of the parking lot, and its open floor plan is better for our agents and their clients.” Access is easy: From Interstate 10, take the Cortaro Rd. exit west and turn north onto Silverbell Rd. Or take the W. Twin Peaks Rd. exit west and turn south at Silverbell.

Tucked in along the foothills of the Tucson Mountains, Continental Ranch is a master-planned community within Marana. “With almost 4,000 homes, Continental Ranch is a hard market to ignore,” Winter said.

The move is set for November 22, with a public grand opening to be scheduled for early 2017. Office hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Sunday hours are noon to 4 p.m.

For more information: Contact David Winter, branch manager, by email at winter@longrealty.com or by phone at (520) 665-3101.

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Long Realty’s Oro Valley office adds sales muscle


Already a regional powerhouse, Long Realty’s Oro Valley office has boosted its strength with the addition of two top-producing REALTORS® to its roster of agents.

Mara and Brian Mitchell—The Mitchell Team—specialize in golf and luxury properties, lots and land in the upscale regions of Northwestern greater Tucson, including Dove Mountain, Oro Valley, the Catalina Foothills and Rancho Vistoso. They work with both buyers and sellers.

The team has a history of high-dollar sales. In 2014, representing the seller, they handled a $1.7 million transaction in Oro Valley’s exclusive Stone Canyon. Big enough to raise comps in the area, the sale helped restore the luster of the community, which had been a bit tarnished by the previous year’s bankruptcy and reorganization of the development’s golf club. The home was under a purchase contract just 55 days after it was listed, when many luxury homes are on the market for a year or more.

The Mitchell Team has listed—and sold—other properties at or above the million-dollar mark as well, including a residence at the Ritz Carlton that closed this year 2016 at $1.7 million and a new listing right outside of Saguaro Ranch for $1.89 million.

Such numbers help the team accomplish a feat that is unusual for agents new to Long Realty. Based on their sales volume in 2015, they’ve qualified as members of the company’s 1926 Circle of Excellence for 2016, an honor reserved for its highest-performing agents. The “1926” refers to the founding year of Long Realty Company. The team is on track to win seats at the circle in 2017 as well.

“The Mitchell Team brings a wealth of real-world business experience, a drive for excellence, and a powerful track record of success in representing luxury properties, “ said KC Woods, branch manager of the Oro Valley office. “Mara and Brian will be a great fit with our market sector.” Serving the booming Northwest-Tucson corridor, the Oro Valley office opened in 1998.

“What cemented our decision to move to Long Realty was, we felt we wanted to team up with a company that was committed to the Tucson Market place and would allow us and support us in taking our business to the next level. We wanted to work with a company that was a good fit for us and one that comes from a place of abundance and team work!” said Mara Mitchell

Career changes brought both Mitchells to real estate. Brian Mitchell’s background includes a 27-year upper-management career in the telecommunication industry. He also ran his own chain of wireless stores in Tucson for 11 years before making the switch to real estate. Mara Mitchell retired from the hair industry of 25 years. She owned and operated a successful Salon and Spa of 5 years, in Oro Valley. Prior to transitioning into her Real Estate career.

Mara also stated “We are blown away by the unbelievable support and tools that Long Realty offers! We definitely made the right decision!”

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Long Realty’s Foothills office adds an avid golfer


Big numbers are nothing new for Nancy Zepeda, a newly arrived—but highly experienced—agent at Long Realty’s Foothills office. In the course of a 17-year, top-producing real estate career, Zepeda has facilitated more than $200 million in transactions.

Zepeda’s two passions—golf and real estate—are mutually supportive: Her market specialties are private golf-course communities, luxury residential developments and exclusive home sites. In 2013, she joined the massive Las Campanas luxury golf community in Santa Fe, New Mexico as director of sales, where she launched the real estate office for the development and helped it recover from a bankruptcy brought about by the 2008 recession. When fully built, Las Campanas will comprise some 1,700 homes on 4,700 acres.

“Nancy brings tremendous depth and knowledge, especially when it comes to luxury and golf properties,” said Laura Mance, manager of Long Realty’s Foothills office. “She’s very client-focused, and she has strong negotiation skills and a proven ability to maintain a comfortable working relationship with all parties in a transaction. She’s a wonderful addition to our office.”

“What attracted me to Long Realty was the reputation and what the brand is about. All of the Long Realty Sales Associates that I have worked with have shown great professionalism, and that to me means a lot.” Said Nancy about her joining Long Realty.

Open since 1979, the Long Realty Foothills office ranks first in Tucson residential real estate offices as measured by sales volume.

With a strong background in new development, Zepeda is knowledgeable about the full construction process and has served as a voting member of design review committees. Over the course of her career she has represented upscale golf properties for a number of brokerages and developments in Marana, Oro Valley, and McCall, Idaho, as well as Santa Fe.

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Tracy L. Wood joins Long Realty’s Oro Valley office


New to Long Realty’s Oro Valley office is Tracy L. Wood, a multi-talented sales associate with a background in interior design and in staging and preparing homes for sale.

A REALTOR® since 1999, Wood worked with several area brokerages before shifting her license to Long Realty. Her focus is on upscale single-family residences in Oro Valley, SaddleBrooke, Marana, northwest Tucson and the Foothills areas. She works on both sides of the transaction, as both a listing agent and Accredited Buyer’s Representative.

Wood lives where she works. A Hawaii transplant, she moved to the Oro Valley area in 1994, saw the beauty of the Sonoran desert, and never left.

Drawn to both art and real estate, Wood has owned and operated several interior-design-and-decoration companies. Her specialty is the use of stencils and faux finishes to create unique wall treatments. Before making the move into real estate, for 16 years she owned and operated Tracy’s Design Inc., an interior design company. When the real estate market soured in 2008, Wood refocused on her painting business, remodeling investor properties and adding custom surface treatments to walls, windows and interiors for new homeowners.

“Tracy is incredibly energetic and creative, and she has deep roots in the community,” said KC Woods, branch manager of the Oro Valley office. “Her attention to detail, communication ability and skill as a negotiator, along with her experience in running her own businesses, lets her bring a very well-rounded skill set to every client.”

Tracy also stated why she chose Long Realty “I chose Long because they’re number 1 in Tucson and I wanted to be a part of their growth going forward because I see myself down the road being a top 10 producer.”

And, as if her plate wasn’t full enough already, Wood’s has a son who is a Sophomore at the University of Arizona, she is a NPC Fitness competitor and a half marathon runner. She is very passionate about fitness and traveling.

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Long Realty shifts managers, adds new education position

Now celebrating its 90th birthday, Long Realty is looking forward, not back, as it launches a strategic new position within the company.

To guide the coaching and continuing education of its cadre of some 1,200 agents, the company has appointed Baron Gauna as Director of Education. For the past decade Gauna has served as branch manager of the company’s Central office.

Replacing Gauna as Central office manager is Wendy Trush, moving up from her position as sales manager and associate broker at the company’s Foothills office.

“We’ve been searching for a Director of Education who is contemporary, dynamic, and knows real estate,” said Rosey Koberlein, CEO of Long Companies. “Baron has a vision which supports the best practices of our current generation of REALTORS®, and he’ll lead us into the future when it comes to agent training and coaching.” The search was lengthy, Koberlein said, because “this role is for the whole company’s benefit. It was not something that could be rushed.”

Gauna will spend part of his time at the company’s Foothills office, where he’ll also be associate manager. “We believe it’s important for Baron to do his work in a branch environment in order to keep our education program authentic and relevant,” Koberlein said.

While manager of the Central office Gauna created the Performance Team, a group of new agents—no more than seven at a time—who get full attention, training, and support to make sure their first year in the business is successful. “The Performance Team has shown extraordinary results and enormous success,” Koberlein said.

Both Gauna and Trush have been active as instructors with the Long Realty Academy, an in-house teaching operation aimed at helping new agents get up to speed in real-world real estate and to help experienced agents hone their skills.

Trush brings sterling credentials to her new position at the Central office. She was named 2013 REALTOR® of the Year by the Tucson Association of REALTORS®—TAR— and was a member of the association’s 2014 board of directors. Gauna is a current member of the association’s Multiple Listing Service board of directors.

After a career in management with Texas Instruments, Trush switched to real estate in 2009. Since then she’s helped clients buy and sell homes throughout greater Tucson, from Red Rock to Sahuarita and east to Vail. She’s given back to the community as well, serving on numerous TAR committees, educating and mentoring new agents, teaching continuing-education classes for REALTORS®, and helping high school students and adults master the intricacies of financial literacy. She also participates in Junior Achievement and Meals on Wheels.

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Matt James comes home to Long Realty’s Foothills office


It’s a happy homecoming as Realtor® Matt James rejoins Long Realty’s Foothills office. James was with the office from 2006 to 2015 and, after a brief sojourn with another company, he’s come back to his Long Realty roots.

A third-generation native Tucsonan, James’ great-grandparents settled in the Old Pueblo in the 1920s—about the time Roy H. Long was starting his real estate company.

Sporting a bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University, James relocated to Southern California in 1994 and had great success in the restaurant industry before making the transition, in 2002, to real estate.  As James tells it, “My San Diego Realtor® said ‘you might be good at this’ and hired me.” And so it began…

It was a good call—in 2006 James sold over $14 million in real estate, including a house in the South County area of San Diego for a record $4.2 million. But home kept calling, pulling James back to Tucson and to his start at Long Realty.

“My specialty is diversity,” James says. “From low-priced short sales to higher priced luxury listings, I’ve done it all.” He was a founding member of “Long Realty’s Short Sale Advisory Committee” during the housing crisis. In today’s more stable real estate market, James has become one of Tucson’s top listing agents. His diversity has proven valuable, as James recently surpassed $60 million in Tucson area real estate sales. “I love connecting with people and understanding their core wants and needs,” he says. “I cherish being their trusted advisor.”

Joining—and, now, coming back to—the Long Realty team was an easy decision for James. “I knew good people who worked for a company they loved,” he says. ”It was a great fit for me, and I’m very excited to be back.”

The feeling is mutual. “Matt brings high energy, high standards, and deep experience to every transaction,” says Laura Mance, manager of the Foothills office. ”And he knows Tucson. He’s been a tremendous asset to our team, and we’re delighted to have him back.” Measured by sales volume, Long Realty’s Foothills office is the top residential real estate office in Tucson.

Community service is a central value for James. As a member of the 2012-2015 Fiesta Bowl Committees, he’s been part of a distinguished team of community leaders working with sponsors, volunteers, staff, and the bowl’s board of directors to support Arizona’s premier collegiate bowl game. Not one to waste time, James also invests in real estate, volunteers as a Little League coach and supports the Tucson Boys and Girls Clubs.

For more information, contact Matt James by email at mjames@LongRealty.com, visit him online at mjames.longrealty.com, or give him a call at (520)248-7648.

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Join us at the Long Realty Halloween Family Safety Fair

Long Realty’s Continental Ranch Halloween Family Safety Fair will be held this Saturday, October 29th from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm at the Continental Ranch Community Center.

Be sure to bring the whole family for free hot dogs, trick or treating, photo booth fun, door prizes and more!

Admission: Donation of canned, dry good or donation to Marana Food Bank.

See you there!


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Growing north, Long Realty adds White Mountains franchise office


Already the dominant real estate brand in Southern Arizona, Long Realty continues its growth as a statewide presence. With the addition of a well-established Show Low-based agency to its network of franchised offices, the company’s service area expands to include the popular White Mountains market.

Long Realty Covey Luxury Properties is the twenty-second of Long Realty’s franchise offices, which, together with a number of company-owned offices, serve virtually every major population area in Arizona.

The new franchise office has a strong track record as an independent brokerage. Founded, owned and operated by Jeff Covey and Kat Redlawsk, the office brings four agents and more than 125 listings throughout the White Mountains into the Long Realty family. The agency specializes in higher-end second homes, land sales and smaller cabins.

Long Realty Covey Luxury Properties will remain independently owned and operated—with the local knowledge and deep roots of a home-grown business—while tapping into the industry-leading clout of Long Realty, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate. Franchising gives the company access to Long Realty’s array of leadership and support services, including cutting-edge information technology and marketing tools, training, and in-house referrals.

Another valuable plus: Long Realty’s instant name recognition.

The benefit for Long Realty is a bigger footprint in a booming area. “This expansion of our franchise network gives us the strongest presence in the White Mountains and Navajo County that Long Realty has ever had,” said Rosey Koberlein, CEO of Long Companies.

“This greatly expands the market opportunities all of our agents need for their clients who are dreaming of a second home in cooler temperatures,” Koberlein said. “Long Realty Covey Luxury Properties has already received numerous referrals, and in fact Kat put one of those listings into escrow after less than two days on the market.”

“When we started, we had high hopes of developing into a large family-based company,” said Jeff Covey, designated broker for the new franchise office. “We knew one day we would have to venture out to become even larger, doing bigger and better things. Long Realty is a great fit. They have the same goals and integrity as we do.”

Citing Long Realty’s 90-year record of excellence, “their knowledge and experience will only help us grow, ensuring amazing service and results for our clients,” Covey said.

For more information, contact Long Realty Covey Luxury Properties at (928)537-8510, by email at JeffCovey@LongRealty.com or online at coveyluxuryproperties.com. For information about franchising opportunities with Long Realty, contact Ann Sullivan, vice president of franchise sales and support, at (520)906-9900 or by email at AnnSullivan@LongRealty.com.

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